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Understanding the Impact of Core Thickness on Pickleball Paddle Performance
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Understanding the Impact of Core Thickness on Pickleball Paddle Performance

When choosing a pickleball paddle, players often focus on factors like weight, grip size, and surface material. However, one important but often overlooked factor is the thickness of the paddle core. Core thickness has a significant impact on your gameplay, influencing the feel, power, and control of your shots. In this blog post, we'll break down the differences between thinner and thicker cores and how each affects your game.

Core Thickness Breakdown

  • Thinner Cores (12-14 mm): These paddles typically offer a slimmer profile, giving them more "pop" or power when hitting the ball. They are often favored by players who rely on aggressive play styles that demand quick reflexes and powerful shots.

  • Thicker Cores (Around 16 mm): Thicker paddles provide a softer feel and more control. They are often the choice for players who focus on strategic ball placement, dinking, and maintaining steady control over their shots.

Thinner Cores: More Power and Speed

  1. Greater Pop: A thinner core means a smaller core area for the ball to sink into, resulting in more rebound or "pop." This is advantageous for players who prefer aggressive play styles, especially in singles where powerful shots can keep opponents on the back foot.

  2. Faster Reaction Time: The thinner design of these paddles allows for quicker maneuverability, which is helpful for rapid volleys and counter-attacking during intense rallies.

The Draft is a good example of a thinner power paddle giving you quicker hands because of its light weight as well. 


Thicker Cores: Enhanced Control and Consistency

  1. Increased Control: The thicker core allows for a softer feel. The ball sinks deeper into the paddle, offering enhanced control over shot placement. This is particularly helpful for players who rely on dinks and dropshots and resets.

  2. Reduced Vibration: Thicker cores can also reduce the amount of vibration transmitted through the paddle to your arm, making them more comfortable for prolonged play.

  3. Less Pop: While thicker cores provide better control, they tend to produce less power compared to thinner cores. This can be a disadvantage if you often play singles or need to generate high-speed drives.

    The Finesse is a good example of a thicker control paddle.

Finding the Right Paddle for Your Game

  • Consider Your Play Style: If your play style is aggressive and you often rely on smashes and volleys to dominate opponents, a thinner paddle might suit you better. However, if you favor strategic gameplay and want to maintain control in dinking battles, a thicker paddle will offer more finesse.

  • Test Different Paddles: It's essential to try out paddles with various core thicknesses to see what suits your play style best. Some companies offer demo paddles or trial periods that let you experiment before committing to a specific model.

  • Consider Other Paddle Features: Weight, grip size, and surface material are also crucial when selecting a paddle, so take these into account alongside the core thickness.


Understanding how core thickness affects your gameplay is key to finding a paddle that complements your strengths and mitigates your weaknesses. Thinner paddles offer a powerful punch for aggressive players, while thicker paddles provide the control needed for more strategic play. Experimenting with different core thicknesses and other features will ultimately lead you to a paddle that enhances your pickleball experience.

Read more about power pickleball paddles here.

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